For a few months now, I have had “I owe no one an explanation” on my list of daily affirmations. A daily reminder that my life is my own.
I began to realise the older I got that I explained everything to everyone, all the time. Over and over I gave a rationale for everything such as why I chose an entrepreneurial career, why I held off on getting married, how much money I got paid, even my new choice to wear brighter colours of clothing and lay off of wearing make-up!
I didn’t just stop at constantly telling everyone everything about me, I told information about others too. To my siblings and friends I went into detail about what my partner was up to, how we spent our time together and the latest conversation I had had with a friend or relative.
With constantly giving everyone a front row seat to my life and decisions, I would constantly get questioned especially by my parents on whether my business was making money yet, whether I had heard back from opportunities I had applied for, why I wasn’t married yet and what had become of the friend I had told them about. With more and more details given, expectations grew. I was expected to get married because the wonderful man I often spoke of all the time cared about me a lot. I was expected to make money from my business because of everything I had mentioned about my plans and people I was working with. More and more it got suffocating. More and more I worked harder to create a life that suited the narrative I was relaying and the expectations that came with it.
From my expectant audience came many questions that drove me towards anger and insecurity. I was now officially working to impress others and had to have a good story to tell, my stories could only be those of winning and success. Each day I anguished over whether I had made the right decisions and hang on to peoples comments especially those of my family. This anguish led me to make drastic poorly thought out decisions. For example I pushed my partner to think about us getting married because everyone else was doing it and I considered quitting my job and abandoning the company I founded.
Each day I lived in my head in the land of peoples expectations. Each day, I woke up hating myself and my decisions and this led me to abandon meditation, healthy eating, my work and exercise which I rely on daily to function from a place of calm and mindfulness.
Eventually it got exhausting. I had conflicts, I was in mental pain everyday and simply couldn’t continue this way. In January this year on a conversation with my mother as she asked me about my business, I heard myself say “I am not explaining myself anymore”. Her response, “it took you long enough darling.” Thats literally all it took to get my freedom back.
It takes daily effort but each morning from my hand written affirmations I remind myself that I owe no one an explanation. I also remind myself of my best qualities and who I want to be to others. I am love, I am family, I am gratitude, I am a storyteller, I am peace and I am calm. These things that I aspire to be the best at have nothing to do with my social status, my job or my opinions, they are simply positive virtues that if practiced daily make your life and the life of others better everyday.
No one expects an explanation from you. You do not owe it to them because its your life not theirs. Stop telling everybody’s business to everybody else! It’s called gossiping and it’s not a good thing. I will be the first to raise my hand at the fact that when someone has told me not to tell anyone something, I have quickly told someone else, breaking their confidence without thinking twice about it. It is not my or your story to tell!
I have found that by telling less to people I wake up everyday excited to work and engage with those I love. I connect with others effortlessly letting go of all expectations and consciously relaying less information about myself and others. Through it comes wonderful conversations about love, life and self improvement. With my work, I have more fun and take more risks, I have a renewed love for my job and those I get to meet and serve everyday.
I challenge you to explain less about yourself and others. You will find that life becomes more joyous and you easily focus on building your best qualities and using these to make a positive difference to people in your life and everyone you meet.